Tag Archives: Summer 2021

Russel Square by Andrew Hanson

Photo of stone gateway

Fate is read in the routes of the snails that methodically spell their own names in the park. Leaves shrivel and shiver off of white birch trees. Alongside an old church, pigeons storm a sliver of stale bread that once was communion, and the sounds of taxis and Ubers buzz by the parks as the partitioned paths of bees. Nervously, an academic and the pipes of the chemistry department share a smoke, while the pipes’ rusty stubble snags the cool evening’s light. The goldfinch warbles choirlike before it swoops in to cull a butterfly stuck … Continue reading Russel Square by Andrew Hanson

Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

Photo of rooms filled with sand

  The first year of the pandemic lockdown was the worst for Frankie and PJ. Most of their time was spent worrying about the health of Frankie’s Mom and then PJ’s Mom and then as it turned out all that worry was for nothing because they both died anyway. Due to the pandemic there was no funeral service, but both moms had been fiscally savvy and left considerable sums of which eased the pain a little. Not surprisingly, PJ’s mom went first. Her smoking and general laziness made her a prime target for this strain … Continue reading Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

The Dumb Have the Advantage by Jim Klein

man and woman kissing in sunbeam

If you were mine, I could do such wonderful things. Oh, the stupid idea of being a human being and having to do all that sucking to stay alive—and then he learns to talk! Howl into the fierce grizzly innards of interpersonal relations. The dumb have the advantage. Nothing but silence won’t hurt. I wished, oh how it could have been, stepping into a gentle night when even leaving was a sociable act with the band playing in the background. I can’t tell you how happy I am in a land of tapping fingers and … Continue reading The Dumb Have the Advantage by Jim Klein

Water by Armen Bacon and Phyllis Brotherton

Photo of flowing water

Armen Bacon and Phyllis Brotherton are the 3rd place winners in Streetlight’s 2021 Essay/Memoir Contest   Sheltering-in-place brought out the wannabe gardener in me, a long-time aspiration, with many attempts usually not ending well; these failures primarily attributed to over- or under-watering, usually the latter. I forget or get sidetracked with another endeavor or simply want to put watering off until tomorrow. In the heat of summer in the San Joaquin Valley of California, unless you desire heat stroke, watering should occur early or late, not in the hottest part of the day. I’ve been … Continue reading Water by Armen Bacon and Phyllis Brotherton

Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

blue and purple light swirl at carnival

My brother and I played war in a ditch near the Ferris Wheel while the carnival barker shouted. Our games didn’t take precedence over my wanting to live like a civilized person, but my father couldn’t afford violin lessons for me. Most of my teachers sucked, and we had only cookbooks and a ragged dictionary at home. My father killed so many deer we had plenty to eat, but I still wore a thick jacket in the cold. I can’t say it called me to the world, but I loved snapping the bra strap of … Continue reading Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

Here’s to Us by Mark Simpson

Woodpecker in tree

Woodpeckers at it again this morning boring into the cedar clapboard, fascia, cove boards too soft with age, too inviting for the particular family-to-be of the pileated kind, red crest pure blazon and I rise time after time, running outside arms waving yelling Out! Out! and then worse the third or fourth time, my cup of coffee gone cold, page lost in book, and it knows I’ll give it up sooner or later or probably doesn’t care if I wouldn’t but I do, feet dew-soaked from all the running around in the flagrant April green … Continue reading Here’s to Us by Mark Simpson

The Wedding Guest by Melissa Sinclair

Photo of roses in glasses

Melissa Sinclair is the 2nd place winner in Streetlight’s 2021 Essay/Memoir Contest   “Can u go to the parler with me today if u don’t have any plans?” This text is from my friend Nighat, who is getting married today. I do not have plans; I have been wandering around Houston in the rain. My Lyft driver pulls up to an immaculate house in the farthest exurbs of the city. The stylist, Shaireen, is a brisk Pakistani mom of three. Her eyes are the color of the sea just before a storm. She spreads white … Continue reading The Wedding Guest by Melissa Sinclair

Passing the 19th by Laura Altshul

Woman and man in black against white city background

His mother’s words: Be a good boy! Whatever that meant in 1920. What did Harry T. Burn know? He was a man now: 24 Republican Tennessee Representative. He’d seen her in the kitchen, kerchief holding back her hair, the kettle’s steam whooshing to her face as she fished out mason jars loaded with peaches glossily preserved for winter desserts. At meals she served herself last. Listened, didn’t ask or say much. He saw her give food to men who came to the back door at strange times of the day. She wore a faded apron … Continue reading Passing the 19th by Laura Altshul

Seagulls by Clyde Harkrader

Photo of seagull on railing

It will be a year, he says. The sun behind her covers the barman and his wall of drinkery in rosey light. A ceiling fan stirs fry-oil and lemon around them, but she still feels slick with sweat on her face and arms and between her thighs. She wishes she had chosen a different dress, or had put her hair up, or that they had chosen to eat at a more comfortable distance from nature. She sips her pina-colada, nods her head, and listens to the lazy waves. He takes a gulp of rum punch. … Continue reading Seagulls by Clyde Harkrader

From a Stranger by Linda Lerner

narrow hall with blue carpet

For Marvin Gordon Thank you, he said when I moved well to the side to ensure a safe enough social distance for him to pass, what my ballet teacher did in those early AIDS years by shaking his head motioning with his hands to push me away when I reached out to hug this teacher I adored, just home from the hospital, who’d assured me, all of us he didn’t have AIDS, and being naive and young… but I wasn’t all that young not to get a patronizing if you say so look from those … Continue reading From a Stranger by Linda Lerner